Sydney Flames coach Cheryl Chambers during a timeout.
Sydney Flames coach Cheryl Chambers during a timeout. Michael Klein

Flames boss joins Opals as assistant coach

SHE helped turn the fortunes of the Sydney Uni Flames and now coach Cheryl Chambers will have a role in the future of the Opals heading to the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.

In the wake of former Australian player Sandy Brondello being named to lead the Opals to Tokyo 2020, Chambers has been named as assistant coach of the team with the Canberra Capitals' Paul Goriss.

The mother-of-three this season helped orchestrate the Flames' first WNBL title win in 16 years.

Despite a long list of injuries to her players in the fist half of the season, Chambers managed to mould the Flames into a winning combination as they downed Dandenong 2-0 to win the WNBL crown.

It was the Flames' first crown since 2000-01.

"I'm really looking forward to it," said Chambers, who was part of the Opals' successful Commonwealth Games campaign in 2006.

"I am really humbled and excited."

Chambers heads to the US next week to meet up with Brondello, who will take on dual roles with WNBA team Phoenix Mercury and the Opals, who failed at the quarter-finals stage of the Rio Olympics,

"I want to be part of getting the Opals back on the podium," Chambers said.

"It is important we get back up there."

Former Opals coach and high-performance general manager Jan Stirling said it was an exciting era for the Australian Opals.

"Cheryl's extensive familiarity with our WNBL talent pool and Paul's in-depth knowledge of our athletes in USA colleges are areas that Sandy considers vitally important to the Opals achieving podium success," Stirling said.

The immediate goals for the Opals are the FIBA Asia Women's Cup later this year and the 2018 world title in Spain.